Story by Ashley Kennedy

The face of the drug war is ever-changing: as power, politics, and personal fortunes shift, so do the players who implement these cruel, failing policies. What follows is a rogue's gallery of the most powerful, vocal, hypocritical, and destructive players in the Drug War today. George W. Bush is not listed among them because he's too damn obvious. Ditto Drug Czar John Walters: He, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson are all really the same person anyway, deep down inside -- and redundancy is boring.

Make no mistake, the following people are your enemies. If you're a recreational drug user, they want to put you in jail (or worse); if you're a simple law-abiding taxpayer, they are lining their pockets with your money under the guise of winning a war that can't be won.

America’s Favorite Ass Puppet
After meeting with Bush in September 2002, the newly elected president of Colombia announced that he wanted to recriminalize personal possession of marijuana and cocaine. Since most of the blow that the Bush family has enjoyed over the years came from Colombia, it makes sense for the US to foot the bill to hose down the country’s indigenous farmers with toxic chemicals like glysophate. And after Monsanto (a transnational chemical-manufacturing corporation responsible for genetically mutated food products and Agent Orange) makes its money, there’ll still be cash left over to mow people down with Black Hawk helicopters. Yippee! Colombia is the third-largest recipient of US federal aid in the world, and almost all of the billions of dollars foisted in that direction have been earmarked for the military’s eradication efforts.

Oil-rich Colombia is a strategic geoeconomic chess piece in the game of corporate globalization; America’s interest there is hardly altruistic. The US’s coca eradication plans effectively achieve other goals, such as quashing malcontent fostered by American-interest–hating leftist guerilla groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN). The aforementioned militant groups control approximately 40 percent of Colombia, and it would be most inconvenient for the Uribe-Bush/big corporation union if power shifted further to the left, so perhaps it is not surprising that Uribe declared a “state of internal commotion” in response to the civil war that has been raging for more than 35 years on Colombian soil. With that declaration, he gave his administration power to establish an $800 million emergency war tax, suspend civil rights guaranteed in the 1991 constitution, and take unprecedented measures to squelch opposition.

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